We love Maida Heatter’s 86% Proof Chocolate Cake, but I don’t make it often because it’s a big Bundt cake and it takes too long to eat. Bourbon Chocolate Loaf Cake is a slightly smaller alternative. I also like the shape of loaf cakes better than Bundts. Bundt cakes are pretty, but loaf cake take up less room in the freezer and are easier to store. That is, you can usually fit them into a giant freezer bag after slicing.
As far as cakes go, Bourbon Chocolate Loaf Cake is a good one if you like boozy chocolate pound cakes. It’s incredibly soft and light and in my opinion the bourbon flavor is just right, though that is subjective. I’ve tested it in an 8 1/2 bx 4 1/2 inch loaf pan and a 9×5 inch loaf pan and both sizes work just fine, with the 9×5 giving it a little more room to climb. If you use an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 (which is my favorite size pan for most things), you’ll have to hold back a little of the batter.
For this cake, I use the old trick of brushing the warm cake with bourbon and then wrapping it in plastic wrap while still warm. The plastic wrap locks in the moisture, so a few hours later when you unwrap it, you’ll have one very moist cake!
As mentioned, this is an offshoot of Maida Heatter’s 86 Proof Cake. Other than scaling it down by 2/3, I’ve made a few other changes. Maida calls for about 1/4 cup espresso powder. That’s a lot of coffee flavor. The scaled down version of that would be a little less than 3 tablespoons of espresso, but I recommend only 1 tablespoon. I’ve actually been using just one packet of Folger’s Instant, the kind you buy in little tubes that costs about a dollar. The other change was to incorporate some vegetable oil. I think oil enhances the texture. Just don’t leave it out, because it’s easy to miss once you’ve already used the stick of butter.
Bourbon Chocolate Loaf Cake
- 3.3 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped (Been testing with 100% Ghirardelli)
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 165 grams, weigh for best results
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet instant coffee or 1 tablespoon instant espresso
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/3 cup bourbon or try rum!
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil Don't forget!
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups sugar 265 grams
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan. Line with a strip of parchment and grease again.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave using 50 percent power and stirring every 60 seconds. Let cool slightly.
- In a microwave-safe measuring cup (a 2 cup Pyrex works well), heat about 2 tablespoons of the water until boiling. Add coffee and stir to dissolve. Add remaining water so you have a total of 1 cup. Add the bourbon so that you have a total of 1 1/3 cup liquid.
- Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the oil, vanilla and sugar, scraping the side of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on high for 30 seconds after each egg is added. Stir in the melted chocolate. On low speed or by hand, add the flour mixture and the liquid mixture alternately.
- Stir in miniature chocolate chips. Transfer batter to loaf pan and smooth top. Be sure to leave at least an inch for the cake to climb.
- Bake the cake for about 60-65 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs and/or the internal temperature is just under 200 degrees F. Let cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then gently turn from pan. Brush the cake generously with more bourbon, then wrap in several sheets of plastic wrap and allow it to sit for at least 3 hours.